Scottish farmers to recieve LFA payments soon
FARMERS in Scotland are due to start receiving payments from the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme from tomorrow (Thursday, March 15) Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has confirmed.
The Scottish Government has now authorised payment of 9,900 claims to farmers and crofters, worth £55.4 million – 85 per cent of the total funding for the scheme.
Changes to the scheme, developed in response to industry requests, have been made to better target LFASS payments by improving links between payment and level of activity.
Mr Lochhead said: “While this winter has been much less challenging for the whole country than last year, I know farmers and crofters have still had to contend with significant input costs and perhaps even more so for those farming in those areas of natural disadvantage.
“I am sure this start to payments under the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme will be welcomed as it means an extra £55 million is about to start arriving in our rural communities, providing a welcome boost.”
He said he had asked officials to pay the remaining amounts ‘as soon as possible’.
NFU Scotland’s new LFA committee chairman Lachlan Maclean said the ‘timely’ delivery of the support was always a relief for farmers and crofters, and the announcement of a payment run which took in the vast majority of claimants was ‘certainly good news’.
He said: “While we are confident the current LFASS scheme will continue to play a vital role over the next two years, we must look forward to how a new scheme will operate from 2014, and what the likely impacts will be for us as farmers and crofters.
“If the next Scotland Rural Development Programme were to be delayed, we need to avoid any hiatus in the delivery of all Pillar 2 payments, but most critically LFA support. That would mean putting bridging arrangements in place for key schemes, such as LFASS, until a new SRDP is in place.”
- The Less Favoured Areas in Scotland represent about 85 per cent of the agricultural area. In England, the same land category only accounts for around 15 per cent of the agricultural area.